Data Visualization

This is the course website for CS444, Data Visualization.

Welcome to CSC444, Data Visualization. In this course, you will learn how, and why, to create data visualizations. Please read the syllabus carefully, and contact the instructor should you have any questions about its content.

A “visualization” is simply a visual representation of an object of our interest. It’s visual: we consume them with our eyes, and so it is essential that we learn how our eyes work — and, more importantly, the parts of our brains connected to our eyes. It’s also a representation; we get to choose what this representation will be, and different choices lead to different pictures, some good and some bad. We will learn how to tell those apart, and how to make pictures that are more good than bad.

Good data visualization involves perceptual psychology, mathematics, and computer science. This makes our subject uniquely challenging: sometimes the way our eyes work stands in way of applying some beautiful result from computer science. Sometimes it’s the other way around: something deep about the math in the data will help guide the design process and let us make a picture that is beautiful, informative, and truthful.

The content of the course is split roughly in three distinct aspects: mechanics, principles, and techniques.

Course syllabus

The syllabus for the course is available here.

Class materials


  Date Topic Materials
Intro   Introduction A1 slides
Mechanics   HTML/CSS/SVG Basics no slides
    Javascript Basics A2 no slides
    Javascript + DOM, SVG no slides
    d3 intro A3 no slides
    d3 joins and scales no slides
Principles   Color vision slides
    Color vision slides
    Other perceptual channels slides
    Other perceptual channels slides
    Interaction slides
Techniques 10/10 Basic Spatial Arrangements slides
    High-Dimensional Data slides Dimensionality Reduction Lecture Notes, longer MDS article PCA article
    Review slides
  10/22 MIDTERM  
    Hierarchies slides
    Graphs slides
    Spatial Data slides
    Spatial Data slides
    Spatial Data slides 2 ODE article
Topics   Cartography slides
    The Human Side of Data slides
    Retrospective, Review slides